Zach Conti

  • More than 215 Groups Call on G20 to Access $3 Trillion in Global Reserve Funds for Developing Countries

    Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network Urge President Biden to Aid World's Poor

    Washington DC – More than 215 organizations sent a letter to the G20 and IMF to issue $3 trillion in global reserves, known as Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). Spanning the globe, the signers argue that SDRs will help countries suffering from the coronavirus crisis and, "send a strong signal of renewed multilateral coordination..."

    "For many countries, access to Special Drawing Rights is the only way to afford urgent coronavirus spending needs while avoiding a debt crisis," said Aldo Caliari, Senior Director of Policy and Campaigns of Jubilee USA Network, one of the letter drafters and leaders of the initiative.

    On Friday, G20 finance ministers meet on the global coronavirus crisis response for the first time under the Italian G20 Presidency and will discuss SDRs.

    "A new and significant allocation of SDRs would bring liquidity that countries urgently need and help stabilize their economies," explained Patricia Miranda, Advocacy Coordinator of the Latin American network LATINDADD, another drafter of the letter.

    On Tuesday, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network sent a letter to President Biden also urging SDRs action. The letter from the largest religious group in the United States and the interfaith development group encouraged the US to lead on a range of global pandemic response efforts, including increasing development funds and expanding debt relief. The letter sent to Biden also raised the need to put in place measures to prevent another economic crisis from happening.

    Read the letter from 217 groups to the IMF and G20 here.

    Read the press release on the letter to President Biden from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network here.

    Read the letter to President Biden from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network here.


  • Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network Ask Biden for Global COVID Aid and Debt Relief

    $3 Trillion in Global Reserve Funds Should be Released to Support Developing Countries, Encourage Faith Leaders

    Washington DC – The Biden Administration should support the release of $3 trillion in global reserve funds to support developing countries confront the COVID pandemic, say the US Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network in a letter to President Biden. The letter also encourages the G20 and private groups to cancel debts for suffering developing countries, stopping tax avoidance, increasing aid and creating a permanent global bankruptcy process to prevent future economic crises.

    "The U.S. should support policies that include public budget transparency, raising revenues in the developing world through stopping corruption and tax evasion, responsible lending and borrowing, common good trade agreements and implementing a global bankruptcy or crisis resolution process," wrote Bishop David J. Malloy, Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network. 

    The letter to Biden comes after he attended last week's G7 Summit and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen meets this week with G20 finance ministers on pandemic response. The G7 and G20 are currently debating debt relief and the size of a creation of general reserve funds or Special Drawing Rights.

    "Given the pandemic’s effects in developing countries, the U.S. Government must lead the world in accessing emergency reserve funds, or what’s known as the creation of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). These generated funds were crucial in supporting economies to survive the 2008 financial crisis," noted Malloy and LeCompte. "We welcome the emerging consensus in the G20 to create $500 billion in SDRs. We urge your Administration to lead a response with the G20, IMF and Congress, that would generate a $3 trillion SDR issuance that would immediately deliver $1 trillion to all developing countries."

    The letter on behalf of the largest US religious group, the Catholic Church, and the interfaith religious development group, Jubilee USA detailed concerns of the pandemic's impact on poverty and inequality, "...more than 495 million jobs are lost across the global economy, and the World Bank says that as many as 150 million people will fall into extreme poverty this year." The letter also thanked the Biden Administration for commitments on debt relief and for making changes to the financial system.

    "The Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA are urging both short-term solutions to resolve the current crisis and long-term solutions to prevent the next one," stated LeCompte. "We need more aid and debt relief now for developing countries. We need a bankruptcy process, better trade agreements and to stop tax avoidance and corruption to prevent the next crisis."

    Read the joint US Conference of Catholic Bishops/Jubilee USA Network Letter to President Biden here



  • published Senate Confirms United Nations Ambassador in Press 2021-02-23 12:48:00 -0500

    Senate Confirms United Nations Ambassador

    Washington DC – The Senate confirms Linda Thomas-Greenfield as the US Ambassador to the United Nations.

    Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations expert, releases the following statement on the confirmation of Linda Thomas-Greenfield as US Ambassador to the UN:

    “From climate change to the health and economic crises spurred by the coronavirus, Thomas-Greenfield has the right experience to help solve the urgent challenges facing the United Nations.

    "She has a strong and proven diplomatic background. 

    “At a time when the UN focuses on African countries struggling with access to vaccines, skyrocketing poverty and debt crises, her knowledge of the region will be an asset.”


  • G7 Discusses Vaccines, Debt Relief, Tax Plans and Climate Change

    Biden Commits $4 Billion for Vaccine Distribution in Developing Countries

    Washington DC – G7 presidents and prime ministers, hosted by the United Kingdom, met virtually on coronavirus recovery plans. The G7 Summit focused on vaccine access, debt relief, curbing tax avoidance and climate change. President Biden pledged $4 billion to bring vaccines to poor countries at his first international summit.

    “G7 vaccine commitments are essential. Without global access to vaccines, we don't have a path out of the health or economic crisis,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. Jubilee USA Network tracked G7 meetings for the last 20 years. “Developing countries will need more aid and significant debt relief to be able to fully combat the health and economic shocks caused by the pandemic.”

    The G7 leaders picked up from last week's G7 finance ministers discussion on a process to reduce debts of poor countries and using global reserve funds or Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). The leaders endorsed the full and transparent implementation of a G20 process to reduce debt for poor countries, the "Common Framework for Debt Treatment beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative."

    "For countries to get through this crisis, they need to have debts cancelled," noted LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert. "Debt reduction processes must include the private sector and be expanded to more developing countries who need relief."

    The current G20 debt relief process, authorized last year, is available to the 77 poorest countries. However, development groups argue many developing countries cannot access the current process. Further on the economic front, the summit agreed to move forward stronger international tax plans later in the year.

    Climate was another priority focus during the G7 meeting. The US recently rejoined the Paris Agreement, a global agreement on climate, and the UK hosts a climate summit at the end of the year.

    “Given the influence of the G7, strong G7 commitments on combating climate change can translate into stronger global climate policies,” stated LeCompte.

    President Biden committed to come in person to Great Britain in June for the G7 Summit, planned to take place in the seaside town of Cornwall. In addition to the US and UK, the G7 includes Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan.

    Read about the Feb. 19th G7 finance ministers meeting and agenda here.

    Read the G7 Summit communiqué here.


  • National Catholic Reporter Features Eric LeCompte on Luis Miranda and Puerto Rico

    National Catholic Reporter quotes Eric LeCompte on the analysis of Luis Miranda's trajectory and the importance of his advocacy efforts to support Puerto Rico. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

    Luis Miranda: He gets the job done

    By Christopher White

    Luis began as a special adviser for Hispanic affairs to Koch in the 1980s where he learned to both organize and use data to his advantage. A decade later, he founded the Hispanic Federation, a nonprofit organization that would champion the needs of the city's Latinos. New York politicians soon learned they couldn't win without the Latino vote, and most realized that if they were going to have any luck securing it, they couldn't win without Luis.

    As Luis works his way through the halls of Congress, the streets of Manhattan, and jets back and forth to Puerto Rico, there's tireless movement and chaos in his orbit. The one constant, centering force: his family. Luis' daughter, Luz Miranda-Crespo, serves as the chief financial officer of the MirRam Group, the political and nonprofit consulting and communications firm he founded with Roberto Ramirez in 2000. Long before "Hamilton," Luis was involved in marketing Lin's theatrical endeavors and connecting him with potential agents and investors. And for the entire Miranda family, all of their endeavors are intertwined with Luis' beloved homeland 2,600 miles from New York.

    In 2015, when Puerto Rico's Gov. Alejandro Padilla announced that the island could no longer pay its debts, much of the world ignored the financial devastation facing the island. "The Mirandas were really some of the only people paying attention," Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, an interfaith advocacy coalition, told me. Lin took to the pages of The New York Times to issue a plea for help, and both father and son lobbied Congress for emergency debt relief.

    "The word 'hero' is appropriate," LeCompte said in describing their efforts. "Luis has a profound sense of justice. Lin grew up seeing his father confront social injustices and it inspired him, and now Lin is following Luis' lead."

     

    Read the full article here.

     


  • Jubilee USA Letter to G20 Calls for Quick Special Drawing Rights Allocation

    Jubilee USA, working with global partners, launched an open letter to G20 Finance Ministers and the IMF calling for a quick allocation of global reserve funds – Special Drawing Rights – to support developing countries' global coronavirus crisis response and recovery efforts. 

    The letter is open for organizational signatures until February 22, 2021.

    Open Letter to G20 Finance Ministers and the IMF: Civil Society Organizations Call for Quick Special Drawing Rights Allocation

    COVID-19 spurred health, social and economic crises that hit developing countries the hardest. The pandemic deepened development and inequality challenges and erased years of progress on poverty reduction and women’s rights. Countries continue to face fallen revenues, lower foreign exchange earnings and higher fiscal and debt burdens. Many of these countries cannot afford expenditures vital to bring the pandemic under control, increase social protection to survive lockdowns and prepare to recover with equity and resilience. Of the trillions spent on stimulus packages around the world so far, wealthy countries account for 88 percent, while developing countries account for the rest.

    A multilateral solution is needed. One that will not push low- and middle-income economies into further debt distress. To that end, we ask that you urgently support a new allocation of IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) in the amount of US$3 trillion. We believe that an allocation of this size is required to address the real needs in a decisive and sustainable way. In 2009, the international community responded to a crisis of much smaller scope and proportions with an allocation of US$250 billion in Special Drawing Rights. This initiative had a significant role in restoring market confidence and supporting global recovery. Last year, even before the scale of this crisis was clear, IMF estimates placed emerging economies’ financing needs at US$2.5 trillion.

    A new and significant allocation of SDRs would enable countries to boost reserves and stabilize economies, helping to minimize other economic losses. It would free up funds urgently needed for the pandemic response, including gender-responsive public health systems, universal social protection and comprehensive vaccine rollouts. It would also provide much-needed foreign exchange resources to countries whose capacity to earn them continues to be severely constrained in the short to medium term. SDRs do not add to countries’ debt burdens, promote debt sustainability and do not represent a loss for anyone – only a gain. Importantly, they would provide a liquidity injection with economic stimulus benefits worldwide.

    So far, the international financial response to the pandemic crisis fails to uphold the standard of solidarity we all should expect in the face of such threat. A new SDR allocation would send a strong signal of renewed multilateral coordination that puts life first and is within your immediate reach. We ask for your leadership in ensuring the international community rises up to this historic moment to do what is needed.

    Click here to add your organization's signature.

    SIGNED:

    ORGANIZATIONS

      1. Act Church of Sweeden
      2. ActionAid International
      3. Africa Community Engagement
      4. Africa Faith and Justice Network
      5. Africa Intercultural Development Support Trust
      6. African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET)
      7. African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD)
      8. Agir ensemble pour les droits humains
      9. American Friends Service Committee
      10. Arab Watch Coalition
      11. Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
      12. Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad, Colombia-LA
      13. Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente (AIDA)
      14. Association of Women of Southern Europe AFEM
      15. Bretton Woods Project (BWP)
      16. CADTM Afrique (Comité pour l’Abolition des Dettes illégitimes) Central Africa and North Africa
      17. CARE International
      18. Center for Democracy and Development (CDD)
      19. Center for economic and policy priorities
      20. Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)
      21. Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)
      22. Center for Participatory Research and Development-CPRD
      23. Christian Aid
      24. CODEPINK
      25. DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era)
      26. DIAKONIA
      27. Documentation and Infomation Network for Indigenous peoples Sustainability (DINIPS)
      28. Dominican Leadership Conference
      29. Economic Justice Network of FOCCISA Africa
      30. Equidad de Género: Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia
      31. European Network on Debt and Development (EURODAD)
      32. Feminist Task Force
      33. FOKUS – Forum for Women and Development
      34. FONDATION EBOKO
      35. Gender Action
      36. Gender and Development Network
      37. Gestos Brazil, Latin America
      38. Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP)
      39. Global Forum of Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent (GFoD)
      40. Global Policy Forum
      41. Indigenous Peoples Global Forum for Sustainable Development, IPGFforSD (International Indigenous Platform)
      42. Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER), Africa
      43. Institute for Economic Justice South Africa
      44. Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Loreto Generalate
      45. Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos (INESC)
      46. Instituto para el desarrollo y la paz amazónica
      47. International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
      48. International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific)
      49. Jubilee Debt Campaign UK
      50. Jubilee USA Network
      51. Latin American Network for Economic and Social Rights (LATINDADD)
      52. Lithuanian NGDO Platform
      53. MY World Mexico
      54. Norwegian Church Aid Regional office in Southern Africa
      55. Observatori del Deute en la Globalització
      56. Observatorio Cidadão para Saúde
      57. Oikos – Cooperação e Desenvolvimento
      58. OXFAM INTERNATIONAL
      59. Public Eye
      60. Recourse, Europe
      61. Red de Justicia Fiscal de América Latina y El Caribe
      62. SERR Latin America
      63. Social Justice in Global Development
      64. Society for Conservation and Sustainability of Energy and Environment in Nigeria (SOCSEEN)/Afrihealth Optonet Association
      65. Society for International Development (SID)
      66. Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute
      67. Temple of Understanding
      68. The Human Rights and Privatization Project, NYU School of Law Center for Human Rights and Global Justice
      69. Third World Network (TWN)
      70. Tripla Difesa Onlus
      71. Uganda Debt Network Uganda, East Africa
      72. Uhuru Community Development Project
      73. Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights
      74. Urgewald e.V.
      75. VIVAT International
      76. WEMOS
      77. Women Engage for a Common Future – WECF
      78. Women in Migration Network – WIMN
      79. Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development (WWG on FfD)
      80. 11.11, Belgium
      81. Abibiman Foundation, Ghana
      82. Action Corps, United States
      83. Action Développement et Intégration Régionale, Burundi
      84. ActionAid USA, United States
      85. Africa Global Wealth Creation, Kenya
      86. Ageing Nepal, Nepal
      87. American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations AFL-CIO, USA
      88. Alliance for Empowering Rural Communities, Ghana
      89. Asociación COVIDA, Colombia
      90. Association for Promotion Sustainable Development, India
      91. ASSOCIATION MALIENNE POUR LA SAUVEGABIF, Mali
      92. ASSOCIATION POUR LES VICTIMES DU MONDE, Cameroon
      93. Association pour l’Integration et le Developpement Durable au Burundi (AIDB), Burundi
      94. Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad, Bangladesh
      95. CAFOD, United Kingdom
      96. CAFSO-WRAG for Development, Nigeria
      97. Carbone Guinée, Guinea
      98. CDIA, Paraguay
      99. Cedecam, Nicaragua
      100. Center for Peace Education and Community Development, Nigeria
      101. Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, India
      102. Centre for Global Political Economy, Simon Fraser University, North America
      103. Centre for Muslim Youth In Peace And Development, Ghana
      104. Centre for Trade Policy and Development, Zambia
      105. Centro de Derechos Económicos y Sociales – CDES, Ecuador
      106. Centro de Estudios del Trabajo, Colombia
      107. Centro de Estudios Paraguayos Padre Antonio Guasch (CEPAG), Paraguay
      108. Centro de Investigación Sobre Inversión y Comercio, El Salvador
      109. CESC (civil society C. B. Center), Mozambique
      110. Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development, Nigeria
      111. Civil Society Education Coalition, Malawi
      112. Civil Society SDGs Campaign-GCAP, Zambia
      113. CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network), Bangladesh
      114. CNCD-11.11.11, Belgique
      115. Comisión de Justicia Social de Chimbote, Perú
      116. Comisión Nacional de Enlace, Costa Rica
      117. Community Resource Centre Foundation, Thailand
      118. CONEYSO, Panamá
      119. Conseil des Facilitateurs des Pays des Grands Lacs, Republique Democratique du Congo
      120. CooperAcción, Peru
      121. Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica CIASE, Colombia
      122. CPM Micaela Bastidas, Peru
      123. Croatian Platform for International Citizen Solidarity – CROSOL Croatia
      124. Dalit NGO Federation, Nepal
      125. Debt Justice Norway, Norway
      126. DECIDAMOS, Paraguay
      127. Demand Progress, United States
      128. Emonyo Yefwe International, Kenya
      129. Equipos Docentes del Perú
      130. de / Jubilee Germany
      131. Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation, Estonia
      132. Excellent World Foundation, Nigeria
      133. Federation of Environmental and Ecological Diversity for Agricultural Revampment and Human Rights (FEEDAR & HR), Cameroon
      134. FOCSIV Italian Federation Christian NGOs, Italy
      135. Fondo Semillas México
      136. Foro Social de Deuda Externa y Desarrollo de Honduras (FOSDEH), Honduras
      137. Forum de Monitoria do Orcamento, Mozambique
      138. Forum Solidaridad Perú
      139. Foundation For Sustainable Development And Climate Action (FSDCA), India
      140. FOVIDA, Peru
      141. Friends of the Earth U.S.
      142. Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN), Argentina
      143. Fundación Constituyente XXI, Chile
      144. Fundación Mexicana para la Planeación Familiar, A. C. MEXFAM, México
      145. Fundación SES, Argentina
      146. Gatef organizations, Egypt
      147. GCAP Italy
      148. GCAP Sénégal
      149. Global Humaniste, Togo
      150. Gobierno Territorial Autonomo de la Nacion Wampis, Peru
      151. Gopal Kiran Samaj Sevi Sanstha Gwalior, India
      152. Grupo de Formación e Intervención para el Desarrollo Sostenible (GRUFIDES), Peru
      153. Halley Movement Coalition, Mauritius
      154. Hellenic Platform for Development, Greece
      155. Humanité Solidaire
      156. Institución Universitaria Colegio Mayor de Antioquia, Colombia
      157. Instituto Justiça Fiscal, Brazil
      158. Instituto Popular de Capacitación-IPC, Colombia
      159. Jeunesse Active de Guinee (JAG), Guinea
      160. Jubileo 2000 Red Ecuador
      161. Justice is Global, United States
      162. Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum KESSFF, Kenya
      163. KOTHOWAIN (vulnerable peoples develpment organization) Bangladesh
      164. Ligue camerounaise des droits humains Nationale, Cameroon
      165. Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, United States
      166. Movimiento TZUK KIM POP, Guatemala
      167. Murna Foundation, Nigeria
      168. NARRATIVA ECONOMICA
      169. National Campaign for Sustainable Developmen, Nepal
      170. Nawi – Afrifem Macroeconomics Collective, Kenya
      171. NRDS, Bangladesh
      172. NETWORK OF RURAL WOMEN PRODUCERS TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, Trinidad & Tobago
      173. New Generation Outreach, Kenya
      174. NGO Federation of Nepal
      175. NGO Platform on Climate Change, Mauritius
      176. Norwegian Church Aid Norway
      177. NRDS, Bangladesh
      178. N’weti, Mozambique
      179. Ohaha Family Foundation, Nigeria
      180. ONE, SINGAPORE
      181. Pakistan Development Alliance, Pakistan
      182. People’s Health Movement, USA
      183. Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, Philippines
      184. PA Women’s organization Alga, Kyrgyzstan
      185. Plateforme d’Information et d’Action sur la Dette et le Développement (PIADD-Guinée)
      186. Plateforme Française Dette & Développement (PFDD), France
      187. Plateforme nationale des Citoyens Unis pour le Développement (PCUD) Nationale, Guineé
      188. Por Un Mundo Más Justo, España
      189. Psychological Responsiveness NGO, Mongolia
      190. National Coalition of Civil Society Organizations of Liberia
      191. Reacción Climática, Bolivia
      192. Red de Mujeres para el empoderamiento político y económico de la provincia de Velez, Colombia
      193. Red Dot Foundation Global, USA
      194. Red Dot Foundation, India
      195. Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC), México
      196. RENICC, Nicaragua
      197. RGIC, Romania
      198. RIGHTS Foundation, Indonesia
      199. Robin Hood Tax, UK
      200. Rozaria Memorial Trust, Zimbabwe
      201. Rural Area Development Programme (RADP), Nepal
      202. Rural Infrastructure and Human Resource Development Organization (RIHRDO), Pakistan
      203. Sanayee Development Organization (SDO), Afghanistan
      204. SDSN Kenya Youth Initiative, Kenya
      205. Servicios Ecumenicos para Reconciliacion y Reconstruccion, United States
      206. Sisters of Charity Federation, United States
      207. Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, United States
      208. Society for Promoting Rural Education and Development ( SPREAD), India
      209. Stamp Out Poverty, United Kingdom
      210. State Employees Federation, Mauritius
      211. Tanzania coalition on debt and development, Tanzania
      212. Uganda Debt Network Uganda, East Africa
      213. WIDE, Austria
      214. Willow Empowerment for Grass Root Development Initiative, Nigeria
      215. Women in Democracy and Governance (WIDAG), Kenya
      216. Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC), Nepal
      217. Zambia Institute for Labour Research and Development (ZILARD), Zambia

    ACADEMIA/RESEARCHER 

    1. Alberto Arroyo Picard, Investigador jubilado Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, México
    2. Diane Elson, Professor, University of Essex, UK
    3. Elisa Van Waeyenberge, SOAS University of London, UK
    4. Fredy Trujillo, investigador Narrativa Económica – Ecuador
    5. Gabriele Koehler, Independent development economist, UNRISD senior research fellow
    6. James Naughton, SOAS PhD student focused on the IMF and responses to crises in the 21st Century, SOAS, UK
    7. Jessica Dempsey, University of British Columbia, North America
    8. Martin S. Edwards, Associate Professor School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, United States
    9. Patricia Jaramillo, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

  • Devex Consults Eric LeCompte on G7 Global Agenda

    Devex consults Eric LeCompte on the G7's first meeting and its global agenda after Joe Biden became the U.S. president. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

    In Brief: US urges G-7 to 'go big' on COVID-19 response

    By Adva Saldinger

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who participated in the meeting, said that “the time to go big is now” and that the G-7, with international financial institutions, “must work to address the challenges facing low-income countries who are struggling to respond to the pandemic,” according to a Treasury Department statement.

    The agenda also included discussion of global debt problems, vaccine distribution for low-income countries, and Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, according to Eric LeCompte, executive director at Jubilee USA.

    While no decisions about SDRs were made at Friday’s meeting — or even expected — the discussion will likely continue at a meeting later this month of the G-20 group of leading nations. The G-20 would ultimately include the liquidity-boosting move in an official communiqué if there is agreement, but LeCompte said it isn’t likely to come at this next meeting.

    Read the full article here.


  • Puerto Rico and US Religious Leaders Urge Biden on Jobs, Disaster Aid and SSI

    Administration Legal Move Could Release $2.3 Billion for Vulnerable Puerto Ricans Say Faith Leaders

    Washington DC – In a letter sent to President Biden, 20 major Puerto Rico and US religious leaders urged actions on disaster relief, job creation and a legal move to aid people on the heavily indebted island.

    "Please immediately instruct the Department of Justice to withdraw the suit, filed by the previous administration, that blocks $2.3 billion in annual Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. About 300,000 poor and vulnerable US citizens with disabilities are critically impacted," wrote the religious leaders representing major religious institutions from Puerto Rico and the United States. "We look forward to working with you so Puerto Rico can emerge with renewed resilience from our debt and child poverty crises, challenges with ongoing natural disasters and the impacts of the pandemic."

    The letter also requests that Biden implement measures to return manufacturing pharmaceutical jobs to Puerto Rico to help in the fight against COVID. Actions to reduce the island's 60% child poverty rate were noted in the letter from the religious leaders.

    “Debt and disasters mired Puerto Rico in multiple crises, and then COVID-19 hit,” stated Eric LeCompte the director of Jubilee USA, the organization that coordinated the letter with Puerto Rico and US religious leaders. "The White House and Congress can move forward critical actions to address the crises facing Puerto Rico."

    The heads of US and Puerto Rico churches signed the letter representing Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, Christian (Disciples) and Evangelical churches. The 20 signers include leaders of the National and Puerto Rico Council of Churches, Catholic Charities, the General Bible Society and Jubilee USA Network.

    Since 2015, religious leaders pressed Republican and Democratic White Houses and Congressional leaders to address the island's debt, child poverty and jobs crises. In 2017 after hurricanes Irma and Maria decimated the island, US and Puerto Rico religious leaders included disaster relief in their advocacy efforts.

    Read the Puerto Rico letter to President Biden and the 20 Puerto Rico and US religious leaders signers in English and Spanish here

    Leer carta en espanol aqui


  • Puerto Rico Letter to President Biden from PR and US Religious Leaders

    Read the letter as a PDF in English and Spanish.

    Via E-mail

    February 16th, 2021

    The Honorable Joseph R. Biden
    President of the United States
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20500

    "They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations." - Isaiah 61:4

    President Biden,

    You and your administration are in our prayers. We look forward to working with you to address the challenges facing Puerto Rico's people.

    Thank you for releasing urgently needed hurricane recovery funds. As religious leaders who advocate for the needs of Puerto Rico's people, we respectfully request you move forward the following actions:

    • Please immediately instruct the Department of Justice to withdraw the suit, filed by the previous administration, that blocks $2.3 billion in annual Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. About 300,000 poor and vulnerable US citizens with disabilities are critically impacted. In the US vs. Vaello-Madero, the US First Circuit Court of Appeals granted SSI access to all Puerto Ricans. When the Justice Department withdraws the appeal, the Appellate Court's decision stands.

    • Through Executive or support of Congressional Action, please implement measures to return manufacturing jobs to Puerto Rico that encourage pharmaceuticals to spur economic recovery and job creation in areas of high unemployment and poverty. Puerto Rico has skilled labor, the capacity, and the facilities to immediately take up additional pharmaceutical and personal protective equipment manufacturing, to aid in the fight against COVID-19 and increase supplies in the United States.

    • Expand and fully fund the Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicare, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. Nearly 60% of Puerto Rico's children, US citizens, live in poverty and would benefit from these measures.

    • Support Congressional action to move forward additional disaster recovery monies for Puerto Rico. The devastating impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, earthquakes and the coronavirus impact US citizens on the island. Conservative estimates note that Puerto Rico needs an additional $50 billion in recovery aid.

    President Biden, thank you for your support and solidarity for the people of Puerto Rico. Now, we look forward to working with you so Puerto Rico can emerge with renewed resilience from our debt and child poverty crises, challenges with ongoing natural disasters and the impacts of the pandemic. We hold you in prayer and invite your daily prayers for the people of Puerto Rico.

    Respectfully,

    Roberto O. González Nieves, OFM
    Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico

    Rubén González Medina CMF
    Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ponce

    Reverend Idalia Negrón Caamaño
    Bishop of the Caribbean Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

    Reverend Felipe Lozada Montañez
    President of the Puerto Rico Council of Churches and Emeritus Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran in Puerto Rico

    Reverend Miguel A. Morales Castro
    General Pastor of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico

    Reverend Héctor F. Ortiz Vidal
    Bishop of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico

    Reverend Edward Rivera Santiago
    General Pastor of the United Evangelical Church of Puerto Rico

    Reverend Esteban González Dobles
    Former General Pastor of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico

    Reverend Rafael Moreno Rivas
    Emeritus Bishop of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico

    Reverend Heriberto Martínez Rivera
    General Secretary of the Puerto Rico Bible Society

    Reverend Enrique Camacho
    Executive Director of Cáritas (Catholic Charities) of Puerto Rico

    Reverend Elizabeth A. Eaton
    Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

    Reverend Dr. John C. Dorhauer
    General Minister and President, United Church of Christ

    Reverend Teresa Hord Owens
    General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

    Reverend Julia Brown Karimu
    President, Division of Overseas Ministries and Co-executive, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

    Reverend Dr. Karen Georgia A. Thompson
    Associate General Minister for Wider Church Ministries and Operations, Co-executive, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

    James Winkler
    President and General Secretary of the National Council of Churches

    Reverend Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe
    General Secretary, The United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society

    Donna J. Markham OP, PhD, ABPP
    President & CEO, Catholic Charities USA

    Eric LeCompte
    Executive Director, Jubilee USA Network

     

    CC:   

    The Honorable Monty Wilkinson
    Acting Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice

    The Honorable Janet Yellen
    Secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury

    The Honorable Pedro Pierluisi
    Governor of Puerto Rico

    The Honorable Jose Luis Dalmau
    President of the Senate of Puerto Rico

    The Honorable Rafael Hernández Montañez
    Speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives

    The Honorable Jenniffer González-Colón
    Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico

    David Skeel
    President, Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico

    Natalie Jaresko
    Executive Director, Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico

    The Honorable Chuck Schumer
    Majority Leader of the United States Senate

    The Honorable Mitch McConnell
    Minority Leader of the United States Senate

    The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
    Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

    The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
    Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives


    Read the letter as a PDF in English and Spanish.


  • Global Economic Recovery, Debt, Climate, Vaccines Top G7 Finance Agenda

    Japan Says Accessing Global Reserve Funds Discussed

    Washington DC – G7 finance ministers met virtually to discuss economic recovery in the face of the coronavirus. The G7 agenda included global debt problems, vaccine distribution for developing countries and accessing global reserve funds or Special Drawing Rights. The United Kingdom, hosting this year's G7 process, prioritized climate as a key issue of the UK's G7 presidency.

    “The G7 is looking at the most crucial issues for a global recovery that includes everyone,” said Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert. “Debt, vaccine distribution, protecting our planet and getting enough aid to vulnerable populations are the critical issues.”

    Japan's Finance Minister Tarō Asō noted that accessing Special Drawing Rights, a type of currency that could be generated to support all countries, was an important G7 discussion point.

    "While no decisions on Special Drawing Rights have been made yet, we continue to see progress," stated LeCompte. "We are seeing more movement on debt relief for developing countries."

    The G7 sees debt relief as a critical global response tool for developing countries. Last year the G20 adopted a debt reduction process that allows up to 73 of the world's poorest countries to seek support. Since the beginning of the year, three African countries already sought support under the mechanism. 

    Climate issues were raised as an important focus for finance ministers.

    “The UK and the US believe now is the time to focus on climate and ensuring our planet can emerge with resilience from the current crisis,” noted LeCompte.

    President Biden, as one of his first acts in office, rejoined the Paris Agreement on climate and signed an executive order putting the climate crisis at the center of the US foreign policy. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen noted the need for significant global stimulus and increasing cooperation with other G7 governments, according to a statement Treasury released.

     


  • After Default, Zambia Becomes Third Country Seeking G20 Debt Relief

    Washington DC – Zambia requested the G20 coronavirus debt relief process, the "Common Framework for Debt Treatment beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative." The process allows up to 73 of the world’s poorest countries to seek support under the mechanism.

    “The pandemic is hitting the economies of poor countries pretty hard and many more countries will be requesting debt relief," noted Eric LeCompte who leads the religious development group Jubilee USA and advises the United Nations on debt issues. "Zambia needs serious debt relief. Before the pandemic, 60% of Zambians lived below the poverty line."

    Zambia joins Chad and Ethiopia who already triggered the G20 debt reduction process. Zambia was the first African country to default on its debt since the COVID-19 crisis began.

    Africa faces its first recession in 25 years as the region struggles with spreading infections and lack of access to vaccines.

    “An important part of this debt reduction process is that countries need to ask the private sector to also provide debt relief,” said LeCompte. “As the G20 works out this process, it's essential that they compel the private sector to participate.”


  • Chad: First Country Requests Debt Relief from G20 Process

    Washington DC - Chad became the first country to officially seek debt reduction under a G20-established coronavirus response process. In the fall, the G20 approved the “Common Framework for Debt Treatment beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative.” Up to 73 of the world’s poorest countries could seek support under the mechanism.

    "This is the first test of the G20 debt reduction process and the process must deliver serious relief for Chad," stated Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. "Before the coronavirus struck, half of Chad's people lived in poverty and 20% of Chad's kids would never live to their fifth birthday."

    Before the G20 authorized the new debt framework, the G20 stopped debt payments for poor countries like Chad. Private creditors and commercial banks refused to stop collecting debt payments as countries suffered from the coronavirus.

    “Roughly half of Chad’s debt is in the hands of private creditors,“ noted LeCompte, a UN finance expert. “One of the biggest tests of the new G20 debt reduction process will be whether or not the private sector will be pushed to participate."


  • "Amid Exceptional Uncertainty" IMF Projects Growth for Rich Countries, Challenges for Developing Countries

    Washington DC - The International Monetary Fund released projections on the world economy as countries continue to wrestle with the coronavirus. The Fund's World Economic Outlook Update projects 5.5% global growth in 2021, while noting developing countries face growing problems.

    "While the IMF is uncertain in its predictions, it's clear that the developing world is mired in severe challenges due to high debts, few financial resources and lack of access to vaccines," stated Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who has reviewed IMF economic reports for more than a decade.

    The update to the IMF's flagship report notes that global growth mostly benefits wealthy and advanced economies. The analysis notes that many developing countries will need debt relief and access to liquidity to get through the crisis.

    "Developing countries desperately need debts reduced and access to new financial resources," shared LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert. "In order for people to survive this crisis in the developing world, we need to authorize the use of global reserve funds or what's called Special Drawing Rights."

    Special Drawing Rights are likened to a type of emergency currency that the IMF can generate when countries face liquidity challenges.

    The IMF raised several cautions about economic projections, including how new strains of the coronavirus could push economic downturns.

    Read the latest IMF World Economic Outlook Update here.

  • published Janet Yellen Confirmed as Treasury Secretary in Press 2021-01-25 19:23:14 -0500

    Janet Yellen Confirmed as Treasury Secretary

    Washington DC - The US Senate voted to confirm Janet Yellen as Secretary of Treasury.

    Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network and who works closely with US Treasury, releases the following statement on the confirmation of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen:

    "Beyond being the first female Treasury Secretary, Yellen is the first person to serve in the trifecta of US finance. 
     
    "She chaired the president's Council of Economic Advisers, the Federal Reserve and now takes the helm of Treasury.

    "Yellen is the Treasury Secretary we need to confront the severe economic impacts spurred by the coronavirus.

    "During her Senate confirmation, she clearly articulated that too many working people, poor people and people of color are experiencing the worst economic impacts of the pandemic.

    "Her proven track record is the experience we need to combat growing inequality and argue for big stimulus packages going forward.

    "Yellen knows that significant stimulus is urgently needed now to grow our economy and address poverty and inequality.

    "Yellen is in lockstep with current Fed analysis that stimulus must move forward quickly.

    "She will need to take these strong domestic positions on stimulus policies and apply them on a global level as the developing world faces lost decades of development.

    "I have no doubts that she will work well with the IMF, G7 and G20 to promote global stimulus and financial crisis resolution processes.

    "Janet Yellen advocates stronger policies to address the intersection of economic issues and climate change.

    "Yellen has strong views on tackling tax evasion and corruption in our financial system."

  • published High-Level Climate Summit to Launch Action Agenda in Press 2021-01-25 09:06:12 -0500

    High-Level Climate Summit to Launch Action Agenda

    Global Economic Decisions Key to Addressing Climate Asserts Jubilee USA

    Washington DC - World leaders, including Pope Francis, UN General Secretary António Guterres and the IMF's Kristalina Georgieva, gather for a high-level climate summit hosted by the Netherlands through Tuesday.

    "The meeting on addressing climate change is taking place at a critical moment," noted Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. "As we confront the economic impacts of the coronavirus, some of the most consequential decisions on climate will be made by the G20 and the IMF."

    During the opening session, Kristalina Georgieva offered that the institution she leads, the IMF, would work to ensure a greener and more resilient climate economy.

    "I'm heartened to hear that Georgieva and the IMF are including climate in their assessments of countries and their advice for finance ministers," stated LeCompte, a UN expert whose organization is raising alarms about significant climate decisions taking place outside of the United Nations system. "Addressing climate change means urgently addressing the global economic decisions that will increase or reduce climate change."

  • U.S. News & World Report Quotes Eric LeCompte on Biden Trade Policies

    U.S. News quotes Eric LeCompte on how the Biden Administration can approach trade policy to benefit Main Street over Wall Street. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

    Joe Biden’s Economic To-Do List

    By Tim Smart

    Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, an interfaith network of religious and advocacy groups, says Biden needs to distinguish himself from the pro-corporate, pro-market economic policies of the Trump years.

    "Biden must show rural and working people that he prioritizes Main Street before Wall Street," LeCompte says. "Biden needs to focus on trade policies in different ways than previous Democratic administrations did. His policies must prioritize growing American jobs in trade agreements as opposed to growing the value of corporate stocks with trade agreements."

    Read more here

     


  • published Our Biden Work, Student Debt Victory! in Press 2021-01-20 10:07:48 -0500

    Our Biden Work, Student Debt Victory!

    Friends,

    Our many efforts with the new Biden Administration are moving forward very, very quickly.

    Today - after his inauguration, one of the first executive orders that President Biden will issue, is to extend our student debt payment suspension through September. The action will benefit 45 million Americans and ease the suffering too many feel because of the coronavirus economic crisis. Biden also supports Jubilee USA's proposals for student debt cancellation.

    Right after the election, Jubilee USA began high-level meetings with the Biden Transition Team. We invited several of our founding national religious institutions to sit with us and the Biden Transition Team leaders for International Treasury, Domestic Treasury, the US Trade Representative, Puerto Rico, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Reserve, Bank and Financial Regulation.

    During our Biden meetings we covered all of our efforts to address inequality, end poverty, coronavirus response and stopping financial crises. 

    The issues we worked on with Biden's team include: student debt, stimulus plans, trade agreements and access to medicine, debt relief and global bankruptcy, accessing global reserve funds (Special Drawing Rights), climate finance, tax evasion and corruption, Puerto Rico, G7/G20 emergency actions, responsible lending, financial stability, universal basic income, development aid, US and international child poverty reduction and much, much more.

    Read and share our initial Biden Transition Team memo about all of our efforts to win a Jubilee across the United States and around the world.

    Your partnership and actions are crucial in the coming weeks and months. In recent months your actions propelled and won some of our coronavirus response campaigns, Puerto Rico disaster aid, student debt relief and passing Jubilee's Corporate Transparency Act. Together, we organized hundreds of religious communities and the largest faith, labor, environmental and human right groups on our coronavirus response efforts. Your actions moved the Trump Administration to take stronger positions on debt relief than any other G20 country.

    Our bipartisan and interfaith efforts, together, are critical so our country, world and planet emerge from the coronavirus crises with resilience - a world where we all have enough and can live in dignity.

    Onward,

    Eric

    Eric LeCompte
    Executive Director

    Twitter: @Eric_LeCompte
    www.jubileeusa.org/support-us


  • President Biden Extends Student Loan Payment Freeze

    Washington DC – President Biden will extend the freeze on student debt payments as one of his first executive actions after his inauguration. The Department of Education will be directed to continue the student debt payment suspension through September.

    “Extending the suspension of student loan payments translates to relief for millions of people suffering from the crisis,” said Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte, whose organization pressed Congress and the Trump Administration on initial student debt relief actions.

    Forty-five million Americans holding student debt will benefit from Biden's executive order. Last spring, the CARES Act stimulus package suspended student debt payments until September of 2020, a measure the Trump White House extended twice but was due to expire on Thursday. 

    "Suspending student debt payments is a necessary first step," stated LeCompte. "I'm grateful that President Biden already supports additional proposals for student debt cancellation."

    In addition to student loan payment relief, Biden will sign 14 additional executive actions during his first day in office.


  • Easy Treasury Secretary Confirmation Expected for Janet Yellen

    Washington DC –Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen appeared for her Senate confirmation hearing and is expected to face an easy confirmation.

    Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network and who works closely with US Treasury, releases the following statement on Janet Yellen:

    "What a historic moment as Janet Yellen will be the first woman serving as Treasury Secretary.

    "Amazingly, Yellen will be the first person to serve in the Holy Trinity of US finance. She chaired the president's Council of Economic Advisers, the Federal Reserve, and will take the helm of Treasury.

    "Yellen is the Treasury Secretary we need to confront the severe economic impacts spurred by the coronavirus.

    "In her Senate confirmation hearing, she clearly articulated that too many working people, poor people and people of color are experiencing the worst economic impacts of the pandemic.

    "Her proven track record is the experience we need to combat growing inequality and argue for big stimulus packages going forward.

    "Yellen knows that significant stimulus is urgently needed now to grow our economy and address poverty and inequality.

    "Yellen is in lockstep with current Fed analysis that stimulus must move forward quickly.

    "She will need to take these strong domestic positions on stimulus policies and apply them on a global level as the developing world faces lost decades of development.

    "I have no doubts that she will work well with the IMF, G7, and G20 to promote global stimulus and financial crisis resolution processes.

    "More broadly, Yellen advocates stronger policies to address the intersection of economic issues and climate change.

    "Yellen has strong views on tackling tax evasion and corruption in our financial system."